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Vern Riffe dedicated his life to public service. He grew up in the New Boston, Ohio, where his father, Vernal G. Riffe, Sr. was active in government, serving as a policeman, safety director, and mayor. When Vern returned from the military service, his father enthusiastically supported his son's desire to attain public office. Vern was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1958, his tenure spanning 36 years and 18 consecutive terms. Chosen Speaker of the House of Representatives by his peers in 1975, he served for the next twenty years in that role - the longest in the history of the state.
The length of Mr. Riffe's career and countless commendations and awards fail to adequately describe the impact he had in Ohio. He set the standard, which established the new era of professionalism in Ohio government. His exemplary performance became a model, transforming service in the House of Representatives from a part-time endeavor to a full-time profession ensuring that government served the people.
Improving the quality of life for the people of Ohio was the Speaker's lifelong goal, which he worked tirelessly to fulfill. Mr. Riffe's dedication and commitment to his people was memorialized with his sponsorship of House Bill 739 establishing Shawnee State University on July 2, 1986. Mr. Speaker considered Shawnee State one of the crowning jewels of his political career because it brought the hope of economic development and independence to his people in Southern Ohio.
Vern Riffe is survived by his lovely wife, Thelma, four children -- Cathy, Verna K., Mary Beth and "Skip" (Vernal III) and seven grandchildren.
"My father always taught me that a public official is charged with helping his or her people. I've always tried to do that."
Mr. Orville R. Ferguson, Sr. was appointed by the Board of Trustees as Shawnee State's University's first Trustee Emeritus, effective July 1, 1993, by acclamation. Mr. Ferguson faithfully served Shawnee State University and its predecessor institutions for 23 years as a member of the Board of Trustees of Scioto County Technical College, 1970-75; Shawnee State General and Technical College, 1975-77; Shawnee State Community College, 1977-86; and Shawnee State University, 1986-93. Mr. Hyland presented Mr. Ferguson with a gavel plaque.
Mr. Hyland was appointed Trustee Emeritus starting July 1, 1994, in honor of his 24 years of faithful service to SSU. Mr. Hyland was nominated for a 1994 Distinguished Service Award in Trusteeship.
On May 18, 1987 the Shawnee State University Board of Trustees declared in recognition of President Taylor's dedication to the University and upon his retirement he be declared President Emeritus of Shawnee State University. On June 12, 1987 Shawnee State University Board of Trustees bestowed an Honorary Doctorate Degree to Mr. Taylor.
Dr. Clive C. Veri has served with distinction for over 37 years
in higher education as teacher, mentor, innovator, administrator
and president. Dr. Veri provided exceptional leadership to the University
during a period of unprecedented change, challenges, and campus
growth since July 1989. Dr. Veri was an outstanding President of
Shawnee State University as evidenced by his continued devotion
to the mission, the region and especially the students. Dr. Veri
guided the University through $50 million of campus improvements,
the first two successful capital campaigns raising $8.5 million,
and served as founding Chairman of the Ohio Appalachian Center for
Higher Education. Dr. Veri retired at the end of June 1998 after
a long and distinguished career in higher education. The Shawnee
State University in Resolution 28-98 found the service of Dr. Veri
to be extraordinarily meritorious warranting the rights and privileges
of the title of President Emeritus.
Dr. Robert L. Wilson, Professor of English served Shawnee State University for seventeen years from Fall Quarter, 1978 until the end of Spring Quarter, 1995. Dr. Wilson was an outstanding teacher as evidenced by consistently exemplary student evaluations, by superior supervisory evaluations, by numerous letters of support and appreciation from former students and colleagues. Dr. Wilson had scores of publications in the creative area of poetry as well as numerous published articles and papers in professional journals. Dr. Wilson served the University by serving on numerous committees and devoted countless hours in providing workshops and seminars in public schools and in the community. For these many reasons and more the Shawnee State University Board of Trustees in Resolution 37-95 bestowed the title of Professor Emeritus on Dr. Robert L. Wilson.
Betty Hodgden, Associate Professor of English, was employed by Shawnee State University and its predecessor institutions from 1965 until 1995. Ms. Hodgden was a beloved and outstanding teacher as evidenced by consistently exemplary student evaluations, by superior supervisory evaluations, by numerous letters of support and appreciation from former students and colleagues. Ms. Hodgden presented papers regularly at scholarly meetings as well as numerous published articles and papers in professional journals. Ms. Hodgden served on numerous University committees and devoted countless hours in providing workshops and seminars in public schools and the community. Ms. Hodgden was so committed to Shawnee State University that she left her entire estate to the Humanities Department. For these and many more reasons the Shawnee State University in Resolution 22-96 bestowed, posthumously, the title of Associate Professor Emeritus on Ms. Betty Hodgden.
Dr. John Kelley
Dr. James Flavin has served with distinction for over 23 years in higher education as teacher, mentor and leader; and was an outstanding professor of English at the University as evidenced by his continued dedication and devotion to the mission, the region and especially his students. Dr. Flavin provided exceptional leadership to the Department of English in 1986 spearheading the development of its English degree, resulting in it being accepted by the Board of Regents in 1987. Dr. Flavin assumed the role as chair of the Department of Arts and Humanities from 1986-1990 during its "start-up" phase and was recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2002 and the Bear Hug Award in 2005. For these reasons and many more, Shawnee State University in Resolution ASA15-06 bestowed the title of Professor Emeritus on Dr. James Flavin.
Mr. Gary Gemmer taught at Shawnee State University for 27 years and served as president of the Shawnee Education Association during the crucial period when Scioto Technical College merged with Ohio University Portsmouth to form Shawnee State General and Technical College, and also after becoming a university. Mr Gemmer served as University Faculty Association president in 1988 - 1989, helping to establish the faculty governance structure at the new university and was chairperson of the Department of Natural Sciences during a period of great growth. He was largely responsible for designing the new university's physics program and brought speakers renowned in their fields to campus. Mr. Gemmer made a profound contribution to the academic life of the university by single-handedly creating in 2005 "A Celebration of Scholarship," which provides students at the undergraduate level with an opportunity to showcase their research in a professional setting. For these reasons and many more, Shawnee State University in Resoulution ASA 01-11 bestowed the title of Professor Emeritus on Mr. Gary Gemmer.
Dr. John Lorentz taught at Shawnee State University for sixteen years and made critical contributions to the development of Shawnee State University's history major. Dr. Lorentz was a voice of knowledge and reason for the campus and community after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He served as Director for the Center of International Programs and Activities from 1997 until his retirement, and was instrumental in building the program and recruiting international students for Shawnee State University. Dr. Lorentz received an Excellence in Education award and was recognized in the Ohio Magazine, December 2005 edition as a Memorable Educator. Dr. Lorentz, along with his son, produced "River Voices" a documentary about the 1937 flood in Scioto County which received an award from the Ohio Historical Society as an outstanding contribution to public history in Ohio, and was awarded the Board of Trustees Distinguished Teaching award in 2002. For these reasons and many more, Shawnee State University in Resoulution ASA 02-11 bestowed the title of Professor Emeritus on Dr. John Lorentz.